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Email marketing is a powerhouse tool for retailers. Why? Simply stated, it’s affordable, effective, and well received by customers.

Research shows 28% of subscribers sign up for a company’s email list to stay informed, and another 27% subscribe to save money.

As email use grows, retailers must hone their marketing skills. That includes creating subject lines that convert subscribers to loyal customers. To help inspire your next email campaign, we scoured through hundreds of emails and pulled out 75 stellar retail email subject lines that you can learn from, and given you some tips to use too.

75 retail subject lines to inspire you

We’ve broken the list of subject lines into six categories:

Discounts and deals

Sephora: You’re invited: 10% off for Beauty Insiders
Nissan: Weekend sale. Inventory you need to see.
Rip Curl: Two for two
Pizza Hut: Friday night discounts you don’t want to miss
HP: Flash. Sale. Alert.
Guess: 25% off your favorites
Pizza Hut: Feed your guests without breaking the bank
Sephora: Ends today: Get 10% off all purchases
Rapha: Last chance to get 25% off all base layers
Guess: Tonight only: A denim lover’s dream
IKEA: Deals for a fresh new look
Guess: Last chance to earn $100 to shop
Converse: Hundreds of new markdowns added today
IKEA: Save with this week’s flyer
La Mer: Exclusive offer: Free samples of award-winning facial masks
Jersey Mike’s Subs: Enjoy a birthday gift on us
HP: Save big on ink
Topshop: Shop now. Save big.
Guess: Free shipping extended
La Mer: A little luxury at a great price
Rapha: Complimentary gift wrap on all purchases

Last chance

Birchbox: Last chance to get in on this hot deal
Jaybird: Last chance to save big this holiday
Pizza Hut: Tonight only. Save $5 on your order.
Sephora: Last day: Pick your 5 faves
La Mer: Get it while it’s in stock
Converse: Ending in 24 hours: 25% off sitewide
HP: Time is running out…Save up to $300
Rapha: Your savings code expires today
Guess: Don’t wait. You’ll miss out on the sale of the year.
Sephora: 3 Days only – 10% off and free shipping

Problem solvers

Sephora: Your beauty issues, solved
IKEA: Where do all these toys go?
Guess: Don’t wear last year’s styles.
IKEA: Storage problems solved
De Beers: Uncover your bridal style
HP: Stop wasting money on ink
Le Mer: 8-minute miracles. Try these products.
HP: Solve all your printing problems
Guess: Wanted: Cute and affordable fashions
IKEA: Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes
Topshop: Meet your new jeans
Rapha: Gift inspiration for the discerning cyclist
La Mer: Age-defying beauty tricks

Namedroppers

Rapha: As worn in the World Tour
Topshop: Beyoncé’s Ivy Park is here
Topshop: New Beyoncé line is just two days away
Guess: You won’t believe who’s partnered with us
Sephora: Products the celebs are wearing
Seafolly: Swimsuits of celebrities

Socially savvy

Converse: See the best deals on Facebook
Sephora: Get insider tips on our Facebook page
Guess: Stay in the know. Follow us on Twitter.

Referrals

Sephora: Psst! You’ll want to pass this one on…
Rip Curl: Pass on the savings
Guess: Refer a friend and save big
Nissan: Bring a friend to our event and save
Birchbox: Tell a friend. Get a month free.
Sephora: Bring a friend to our VIP party

New arrivals

Topshop: Minimal and cool, the new collection is here
Nissan: Go green in 2016 with a new eco-friendly car
Topshop: Get a head start on summer
HP: New must-haves for your office
Nissan: Sign up to be notified when Titan XD arrives
Converse: Converse custom prints for spring
Seafolly: A new product you won’t pass on
Nissan: Your inside look at the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada
Mercedes-Benz: Luxury awaits
Pizza Hut: New toppings. New dinner plans.
De Beers: Her style awaits
Rapha: The new Brevet Windblock Jersey

Personalized

Jersey Mike’s Subs: Lisa, Earn double points today only
Pizza Hut: Bob, try our new treat
Seafolly: Hot new summer arrivals just for you
Guess: Lindsey, check out these hand-picked looks

Subject line tips for retailers

We have some info to help you write subject lines that sell. Check out these six tips:

1. Optimize your subject line length for your subscribers

Research indicates subject lines that are about 65 characters in length are best. But it’s best to look at your subscribers and what email clients and devices they use so you can optimize your subject lines to fit. To get this information in Campaign Monitor, look in the Reporting section of your account, under Email Client Usage.

Here are some great examples from three Campaign Monitor customers:

retail subject lines

2. Personalization works

You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll say it again. Personalization works. Personalized messages improve click-through rates by an average 14% and conversions by 10%.

You’ll notice that only a handful of the subject line examples listed have a personalized element, which shows how few businesses are using this feature.

As a business, make personalization a goal. Add a subscriber’s first name to a subject line, and consider curating products for certain segments of your list based on buying behaviors.

3. Show a sense of urgency

You’ll notice there are a fair amount of subject line examples in the “Last Chance” category that encourages subscribers to take advantage last-minute deals. These examples all show a sense of urgency, which is something you should strive to do in every subject line.

Provide a deadline and remind people of the limited time left, or rely on “fear or missing out,” or FOMO.

Be sure to add urgent words and phrases like, “act,” “today,” “don’t miss out” or “last chance” to dial up the urgency in your subject lines.

4. Don’t be repetitive

Every email should have a different subject line; even if you send out a regular email that covers similar topics, like a deal of the week or monthly style picks. Don’t become a subject line robot. Seeing something like this in an inbox is an instant turn off:

amazon repeated email subject line

5. Add numbers to your subject line

When you’re staring at a long list of emails and scanning the subject lines, what stands out? Numbers. The eye is automatically drawn to numbers. Research shows blogs with numbers in the title are opened 45% more than those without. It stands to reason that the same would apply for email subject lines.

If you’re hosting a sale, state the savings in percentages. If you’re offering a limited-time deal, mention the number of hours that subscribers have left to take advantage of it. Try to weave numbers into your subject lines when you can.

6. Add an emoji

Just as numbers stand out, so does an emoji. Whether you opt for a heart or smiley face, 56% of brands that use an emoji in the subject line see higher open rates.

However, there are a few tips to use when adding an emoji to your email. Make sure the emoji is appropriate and relevant to your message. Don’t overuse them. And, lastly, if an emoji doesn’t fit with your company’s overall tone, don’t force it.

Wrap up

Retail subject lines are meant to sell, so they’re different than other emails. Don’t slam together a subject line just to get an email out the door. Take some time to think about it before sending an email out. The tips above are designed to help, and can entice subscribers to open an email and take action.

  • MyLifesTea

    This is great Amy! Thank you for your time. I love the subject line ideas. They can be easily adapted to other relevant emails even if they are not for sales. I will keep them in mind. Wonderful work!

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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